Edwardsville Oks alcohol at community center events
Following a few complaints from neighbors of the Edwardsville Community Center, the city has taken a closer look at its rental policy and code of ordinances.
After addressing a change in hours and cost, the city was left with a legal question regarding the consumption of alcohol at the city and if by city ordinance drinking was allowed at any city facility.
“As you know the issue has come up from staff about the question whether it is ‘legal’ to have consumption of alcohol at community center,” City Administrator Michael Webb said. “We’ve always allowed persons to have alcoholic beverages at the community center but the question was if our codes conflict with our policy. After reviewing the ordinance, our city attorney has written a new ordinance to continue to allow drinking (at the community center).”
Webb said the new ordinance would not change the rules at any other city-owned property, such as the city park, but would allow for the community center to be the one exception.
Edwardsville Police Chief Mark Mathies reminded the council that, by policy, if alcohol was going to be at a community center event, a police officer was required to be present. He said the fee was $25 per hour per officer, with typically only one officer on duty.
Council member Craig Crider questioned whether there would be an increased liability on the city if drinking were allowed.
City Attorney Reed Walker said the new ordinance wouldn’t cause an increase in liability on the city.
“I think it is a bad idea,” Crider said, still concerned with the city being blamed should a party get out of hand because of alcohol. “There is a bar next door, go there if you want to drink.”
Webb said the city has never had a problem or serious incident because of drinking being allowed at the community center. He said the original complaints making the discussion necessary in the first place had to do with noise late at night.
The council passed the new ordinance allowing alcohol at the community center 4-1, with Crider opposed.
In other action Monday, the council:
• Approved, 5-0, the minutes from the March 9 meeting.
• Approved, 5-0, payment of bills totaling $81,372.21.
• Approved, 5-0, the submittal of an application for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The application requests funding for a trail extension from Edwardsville City Park to Riverfront Park. The path will follow Betts Creek south to Woodend Road, then turn west and follow Woodend Road to Riverfront Park. The cost of the project was estimated at $86,360 with $76,160 coming from potential federal funding. Webb said the city should know if it was awarded the funding in the coming weeks.
• Approved, 5-0, a resolution regarding preparation of the financial statements for the annual audit. State statute requires cities to prepare financial statements that conform to Generally Accepted Accounting Principals, unless the city requests a waiver. The approved resolution would waive that requirement because Edwardsville, like many Kansas municipalities, prepares its financial statements on the cash basis to comply with the “Cash Basis” law. Edwardsville has waived this requirement for several years to avoid having to prepare the financial statements in two forms.
• Approved, 5-0, two resolutions that change the city’s benefit provider from MARCIT to the Midwest Public Risk of Kansas. Webb said all benefits would stay the same, but the new Kansas pool would allow for more financial stability for all the Kansas entities that enroll.
• Approved, 5-0, to rename Trant Street, between 3rd and 4th streets, to Cliff Lane in honor of the Edwardsville fire chief. Lane has been with the city for 30 years and is the longest serving city employee. He joined the fire department in 1978 and became assistant fire chief in 1993 and then fire chief in 1995.
There will be a dedication ceremony for the renaming at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, at the intersection of 4th and Cliff Lane.
• Heard a proclamation by Rodgers declaring April 17-18 Kansas Exoduster Descendants Days.
• Heard a year-end report from Cliff Lane. In 2008, the Edwardsville Fire Department responded to 806 incidents, a 14 percent increase from 2007. Lane said the average response time was two minutes and 41 seconds. There were 19 structure fires and no fire personnel deaths or injuries.
• Heard a reminder from council member John Eickhoff about the city’s clean-up day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at Edwardsville City Park, 1200 Blake St. All city residents must show proof of residency. Items that will not be allowed are paint, batteries, oil, anything flammable, corrosive or potentially explosive liquids, tires, concrete, stone, dirt and asphalt shingles.